Looking for some fun photographic ideas for kids this summer? Try melting some Skittles. This is a little more involved than it looks on the surface, but loads of fun for kids of all ages. It can also be an indoor or outdoor activity. Setup can take a bit, but that can be part of the fun as well. There is also a cool science type vibe about it.

Requirements

  • A large pack (or two) of Skittles
  • A large white flat dish
  • You will also need a large bowl
  • Hot tap water (not boiling)
  • Camera or smartphone

The setup

Find a large flat white dish or tray — round is perfect, but square can work too — and it could be ceramic or plastic. You can use other colors, but for best results white is perfect. Make sure it is placed on an even flat surface, otherwise the water all runs in the one direction. Also find a spot in the shade, too much sun can make it difficult to shoot as it can get too hot and glaring. Also, keep it low so you can get over the top action with your camera.

Get a large bowl and place it upside down on your dish, placing Skittles around the edge. You can get as creative as you like or just place them randomly. I found setting one of each color next to each other worked well, I had them in a consistent order as well, with the ‘S’ side up and then down, but you can do this in any order. Alternately get cookie cutters and make other shapes, try stars, hearts, squares … anything goes. Have fun and experiment.

Once arrange, carefully remove the bowl to leave the Skittles in a circle.

The shot

This can be shot with a DSLR for sure, but also an Instamatic or a smartphone. Let the kids get in on the action if you have a smartphone with slow-motion. So much fun.

Get your camera set up, I used mine on a tripod so I had a free hand to pour the water. Boiling water is too dangerous around children, plus it melts the Skittles too quickly. Instead, try warm to hot tap water.

Slowly pour into the middle of the dish and watch it slowly spread out to the Skittles and melt them in long ribbons of color. The slower you pour the slower the action.

Want an extra level of difficulty?

Once the water has been poured and the Skittles have melted, gently but quickly spin the dish a quarter turn to make the ribbons of color twist, it may take some practice, but can look cool. Alternatively, try other shapes, I attempted a star shape, which was a bit hit and miss, but good for macro shots.

Check out my other tips on how to get your kids involved with photography this summer!